|Publication number||US8055193 B2|
|Application number||US 12/686,510|
|Publication date||Nov 8, 2011|
|Filing date||Jan 13, 2010|
|Priority date||Jun 15, 2005|
|Also published as||US7711322, US7853206, US7873316, US7877059, US8045919, US8315560, US8326219, US8331856, US8335469, US8346164, US8346165, US8358973, US8364078, US8385821, US8515343, US8515344, US8682244, US20060286931, US20100085839, US20100109933, US20100110835, US20100134319, US20100135121, US20100135122, US20100159827, US20100159828, US20110299362, US20110299363, US20110299364, US20110300793, US20110300794, US20110300795, US20110300796, US20110300797, US20110301944, US20130029628, US20130195465, US20130279299, US20140065953|
|Publication number||12686510, 686510, US 8055193 B2, US 8055193B2, US-B2-8055193, US8055193 B2, US8055193B2|
|Inventors||Mark Rhodes, Derek Wolfe, Brendan Hyland|
|Original Assignee||Wfs Technologies Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (40), Referenced by (38), Classifications (20), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 11/454,630 filed Jun. 15, 2006 now U.S. Pat. No. 7,711,322, which application claims the benefit of U.S. Ser. Nos. 60/690,964, 60/690,966 and 60/690,959, all filed Jun. 15, 2005, and is a continuation in part of GB0602398.0, filed Feb. 7, 2006, all of which applications are fully incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates to the use of electromagnetic energy to detect the presence or otherwise of objects in water, the systems being operated submerged in the water.
Underwater detection and location has typically been accomplished using sonar techniques. Acoustic systems are degraded by noise and interference from a number of sources. They are also subject to multi-path effects and in some environments are virtually unusable.
According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided an underwater remote sensing system comprising a transmitter for transmitting an electromagnetic signal, a receiver for receiving an electromagnetic signal reflected from an object and determining means for determining the location of the object using the received signal, wherein at least one of the transmitter and receiver is underwater.
In use, a probe or exploratory signal is transmitted from the transmitter through the water. In the event that there is an object in the transmitted signal propagation path, part of the transmitted signal is reflected. The reflections are picked up by the receiver, processed electronically, and used to determine the relative position of the object.
At least one of the receiver and transmitter may have a magnetic coupled antenna. At least one of the receiver and transmitter has an electrically insulated antenna. In this case, the insulated antenna may be surrounded by an impedance-matched low conductivity medium, for example distilled water.
In the underwater environment, using electrically insulated magnetic coupled antennas provides various advantages over the alternative of electrically coupled antennas. In far field electromagnetic propagation, the relationship between the electric and magnetic field is determined by the transmission media's characteristic impedance. An electrically coupled antenna launches a predominantly electric field that transitions to the characteristic impedance over an area known as the near field. Underwater attenuation is largely due to the effect of conduction on the electric field. Since electrically coupled antennas produce a higher E-field component, in the near field the radiated signal experiences higher attenuation. The same performance issues apply to a receive antenna. Magnetic coupled antennas do not suffer from these problems and so are more efficient under water than electrically coupled antennas. Using an electrically insulated antenna provides further advantages. This is because for a non-insulated antenna, there is a direct conduction path between it and the dissipative water. This leads to dissipation as the signal propagates along the antenna even before the electromagnetic signal is launched. Providing an electrically insulated antenna reduces this effect.
The determining means may be operable to determine the location of the object using the field strength at three or more receiver positions. Three or more receiver antennas may be provided and the determining means may be operable to determine the location of the object by comparison of the field strength of the signal received at each antenna. Alternatively, a single receiver antenna may be provided and the determining means may be operable to determine the location of the object by comparison of the field strength of the signal received at three or more different receiver locations.
The receiver antenna may be a directional antenna and the means for determining may be operable to use the directionality of the receiver to determine the relative directional position of the reflecting target. More specifically, the direction of reflected signal propagation may be determined by aligning a highly directional antenna.
Radiated wavelength is one of the aspects of remote sensing that determines the positional resolution of the system. In air propagating radar systems high frequencies with short wavelengths are used to achieve good positional resolution. In the underwater environment, attenuation increases with frequency. This limits the use of high frequencies over a useful range. The relative permittivity of water helps to some extent since this results in a substantial decrease in wavelength in water compared to air propagation at the same frequency. At 100 kHz air wavelength is 3 km while in water it is around 300 m. To overcome this problem, in one implementation of the invention continuous wave techniques are used to vary the frequency of the probe signal by, for example, starting at a high frequency and reducing it gradually until a return signal is detected. In the event that a return signal is detected the receiver is then moved closer to the target and the frequency increased. At this higher frequency spatial resolution is improved.
For the short-range applications envisaged, it will not be practical to measure propagation time of a reflected pulse. The frequency of operation will not be high enough to define a pulse of short enough duration. In one implementation of a remote sensing system frequency modulated continuous wave techniques are used. The frequency of the electromagnetic radiation can be rapidly ramped over time. This results in a reflected signal with a frequency offset proportional to range.
The receiver may be remotely located from the transmitter, or may be co-located. For example, the transmitter and receiver may both be located on a mobile, remote sensing station that is operable to move around in an underwater environment.
The location of the object may be determined relative to at least one of the receiver, the transmitter or a pre-determined reference.
The transmitted signal may have a frequency of below 3 MHz. The transmitted signal may have a frequency in the range of 1 MHz to 3 MHz.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system for determining underwater electromagnetic signal propagation direction comprising at least one receiver for receiving the electromagnetic signal and determining means for determining the direction of propagation using field strength at three or more receiver locations.
Three or more receiver antennas may be provided and the determining means may be operable to determine the location of the object by comparison of the field strength received at each antenna.
Alternatively, a single receiver antenna may be provided and the determining means may be operable to determine the location of the object by comparison of the field strength received at three or more different receiver locations.
Various aspects of the invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:
The present invention relates to an underwater remote sensing system. The underwater environment is very different from air and requires completely new detection techniques from those applicable for air propagation systems. This is primarily because water exhibits a high dielectric permittivity and conductivity that leads to high attenuation. In practice this means that the water operational range is generally less than one wavelength and so sub-wavelength resolution techniques have to be used.
Direction-finding techniques are employed to determine a relative bearing of a reflecting target. Because the field strength is attenuated in the direction of propagation, the bearing of the target relative to the receiver can be determined by calculating a local two-dimensional loss gradient vector using a comparison of the field strength at three or more receiver positions, as shown in
Another direction finding technique that may be used involves using a directional antenna. An example of this is a solenoid type antenna, as illustrated in
In practice, the remote sensing system in which the invention is embodied may be operable to use a range of different target seeking frequencies in order to focus in on targets and optimise sensing process. Low frequency offers greater range due to lower attenuation but also achieves lower positional resolution. In order to accurately locate an object by remote sensing, the process set out in
A skilled person will appreciate that variations of the disclosed arrangements are possible without departing from the invention. For example, although position-finding techniques are described, it will be appreciated that analysis of reflected signals could be used to determine the surface properties of the detected object. Information regarding an object's shape can be deduced by looking at reflections from several incident angles since strong reflections are produced from objects presenting flat normally incident surfaces to a co-located transmitter receiver system. Also, as well as providing an indication of relative position, the remote sensing station may be operable to communicate the absolute position in space of an object found with reference to a standard co-ordinate system, for example latitude, longitude and altitude.
Whilst the primary function of the systems in which the invention is embodied is to find underwater objects, they could be used to implement underwater electromagnetic communications links. Also, whilst the systems and methods described are generally applicable to seawater, fresh water and any brackish composition in between, because relatively pure fresh water environments exhibit different electromagnetic propagation properties from saline, seawater, different operating conditions may be needed in different environments. Any optimisation required for specific saline constitutions will be obvious to any practitioner skilled in this area. Accordingly the above description of the specific embodiment is made by way of example only and not for the purposes of limitation. It will be clear to the skilled person that minor modifications may be made without significant changes to the operation described.
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|U.S. Classification||455/40, 367/142, 455/427, 455/456.1, 455/502, 455/406, 343/719, 455/431, 340/572.7, 367/904, 367/131, 455/404.2, 340/850, 455/41.2|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S367/91, Y10S367/901, Y10S367/904, H04B13/02|
|Jan 13, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WIRELESS FIBRE SYSTEMS,UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RHODES, MARK;WOLFE, DEREK;HYLAND, BRENDAN;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060718 TO 20060720;REEL/FRAME:023772/0507
Owner name: WIRELESS FIBRE SYSTEMS, UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RHODES, MARK;WOLFE, DEREK;HYLAND, BRENDAN;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060718 TO 20060720;REEL/FRAME:023772/0507
|Sep 21, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WFS TECHNOLOGIES LTD., UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WIRELESS FIBRE SYSTEMS;REEL/FRAME:026939/0833
Effective date: 20110920
|Jun 19, 2015||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Nov 8, 2015||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Dec 29, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20151108